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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

208

MEDICAL JUEISPRUDENCE

In October 1932, a woman was sent to me by the City Magistrate of Lucknow with
a report that she had been beaten with a cane.   She had two vertical dark-brown patches      .
along the upper part of the left shoulder blade towards its inner border.   These were^f
almost parallel with an intervening space of half-an-inch.   Their margins were Wj^f^
The first one of them was 2\ff A J", and the other was 2" X 4".   She had also a^milar
patch, 2" \ 5", along the back of the left forearm towards its outer side^m 11/3"
below the left elbow.   Ail these patches appeared to have been caused bjsx?utphuric acid.
Dutt - also reports cases in which a rectangular shiny patch produced by caustic
on the chest \\as claimed to be the result of a blow, and the mark left by a heated rupee
on the back was attributed to a blow from a lathi (club).

Difference between Ante-mortem and Post-mortem Bruises.—A certain |
amount of swelling and the colour changes are found in a bruise caused
during life.   There are usually coagulation of the effused blood into the^
subcutaneous  tissues  and  infiltration  of the  blood   in  the  muscle  fibres. I
Th§5£ signs are absent in a
Tmu'se   caused   after   death.
In   a   doubtful   case   it   is
advisable to make a micros-
copic   examination   of   the
affected tissue.   A bruise is
likely  to be  disfigured  by
putrefaction, and it is diffi-
cult to differentiate between
a bruise caused during life
and that caused immediate-
ly after death.    Sir Robert
Christison   proved   by   ex-
periments  that it was pos-

Fig.  78.—Effused,  coagulated blood in

the subcutaneous tissues of the chest

due to ante-mortem contusion.

sible  to   produce   a   bruise
within two hours to three
hours  and a quarter after
death   which   it   would   be
difficult to distinguish from one caused during Me; but he found that very
great violence had to be used and even then the resulting bruise was much j
smaller than what would have been produced by similar means during life./
However, Sir Bernard H. Spilsbury 3 has pointed out that two minutes after
death no appreciable bruising occurs, inasmuch as the development of a
bruise depends upon the maintenance of the circulation, which slows down
owing to the fall of the arterial blood, and is soon completely arrested as
soon as the heart's action is stopped in death.

ABRASIONS

^iisasions are injuries involving loss of the superficial epithelial layer
of ffie^skin, and are produced by a blow or a fall on a rough surface, by
scratching with the finger nails or by teeth-bites. Abrasions vary in size
and shape and^bleed very slightly. They are of very little significance from
a surgeon's point of view, but are of great importance from a medico-legal
point of view.

Abrasions resulting from friction against a rough surface during a fall
are mostly found on bony parts, and are usually associated with contusions
or lacerated wounds and sometimes with very serious injuries. Abrasions
may also be covered with mud, straw, etc.

^Abrasions caused by the finger nails indicate a struggle and an assault,
and are usually seen on the exposed parts of the body, such as the face,
neck, fore-arms, hands, etc. They may be crescentic in shape, especially if

2.    Ind. Med. Gaz^ Hay 1927, p. 296.

3.    Lancet, Feb. 28, 1925, p. 421.